The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has announced a $12 million settlement that resolves an enforcement suit brought 10 years ago against a foreclosure relief operation that the agency identified as a scam.
In May 2014, the CFPB filed a complaint against Consumer First Legal Group LLC and four attorneys – Thomas G. Macey, Jeffrey J. Aleman, Jason Searns, and Harold E. Stafford – alleging they charged millions of dollars in illegal advance fees to financially-distressed homeowners for legal representation that was never provided. The CFPB won a judgment against the defendants in 2019 but the case has been ongoing due to multiple appeals by the defendants.
Under the terms of the settlement, the defendants will pay $10.9 million in consumer redress and a $1.1 million penalty into the CFPB’s victims relief fund. The individual defendants are covered by five- and eight-year bans from the mortgage assistance industry, under the district court’s original order.